Tom Reed, (406) 599-1022
Brad Powell, (928) 300-5451
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wyoming Range Decision Hailed by Sportsmen
Bridger-Teton draft EIS selects preferred alternative of no leasing
JACKSON, Wyo.— Sportsmen in Wyoming applauded today's announcement by the Bridger-Teton National Forest that it is releasing a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) on the leasing of 44,720 acres of land in the Wyoming Range with a preferred alternative of no leasing.
The decision by Forest Supervisor Kniffy Hamilton is one that has been advocated by Trout Unlimited and many of the state's hunters and anglers since the area was first leased in 2005 and 2006. The original decision to lease over 45,000 acres in the Wyoming range for energy development spurred action by sportsmen and conservationists from all parts of Wyoming that resulted in the passage of the Wyoming Range Legacy Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2009.
"This is an affirmation of what we've been saying all along as sportsmen who care about this unique area of the state," said Tom Reed of Trout Unlimited. "These are lands that should never have been leased for development. The Forest Service agrees with us now, and we couldn't be happier about the decision."
The Wyoming Range has long been popular with sportsmen because of its outstanding habitat for elk, deer and moose, and is vital to the long-term survival of critical populations of Colorado River cutthroat trout. The area is renowned for its hunting; numerous local outfitters depend upon it for their livelihood, and hunting plays a key role in the economies of the local communities near the Range.
"Reasonable drilling for oil and gas can be done in many areas of Wyoming, but this was a case where development was not a responsible choice at all," said Brad Powell, Energy Director for TU's Sportsmen's Conservation Project. "We fully support the preferred alternative in this instance – no leasing."
Trout Unlimited is a private, non-profit organization with 140,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America's coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.